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Showing posts from April, 2012

Dialogue

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Acts 4:1-22
A quick review:  John and Peter were going up to the temple to pray (a nod to the truth that the earliest Christians saw themselves as fully and faithfully Jewish).  They were about to pass through the Beautiful Gate (which is not so much a gate we can pinpoint with archeological accuracy today, but a foreshadowing of what is about to happen there).  They saw this man who was lame from birth being carried in by his friends (see Mark 2:1-12 to see a story from the life of Jesus that this passage echoes).
After the man was healed, Peter, John, and this man danced into church created quite a commotion because people were amazed that the man who was paralyzed from birth is now not only walking but leaping all around them.
Creating a scene in church...not something we've ever gotten used to.  
So in this passage the religious authorities want to keep things under control...something we are still used to. 
They question Peter and John about why they are trying to change things...

I am the church...You are the church

Speaking in Tongues

One of the most well-known stories in the book of Acts is from the second chapter on Pentecost. Usually, in the church we celebrate Pentecost fifty days after Easter and we say that it is the 'birthday of the church.' We read from the book of Acts 2 about how the Holy Spirit stirred and swirled around the disciples in a room, they all spoke in tongues, but could understand each other.

This is usually the ONLY time we talk about the Holy Spirit.

We might make references to how Acts 2 is like Genesis 1, where God's spirit surfed over creation or Genesis 11 how Pentecost is a reversal of the Tower of Babel.

But, we really don't know what to do with this narrative. In the mainline church, we don't do much talking in tongues. It is appropriate to say that while some Pentecostal church see this as talking in a language unintelligible to most; what actually happens in Acts 2 is that the disciples and others are talking in known languages.

Moreover, Pentecost isn't ou…

Resurrection Community

On Easter Sunday, I offered the image of the church being a "Resurrection Community." I long for the church to be a place where the words, "Christ is risen" means something to us today and makes a difference today. "Christ is Risen" is spoken in the present tense.

We don't say "Christ was raised" in the past tense.

Or "Two thousand years ago, something happened and some people might have seen something, but to be perfectly honest, we really are not sure." While I appreciate that might be closer to the truth of how some people in our churches feel, the reality is that loooooong sentence really doesn't roll off the tongue. That looooooong sentence doesn't give me goosebumps as when I shout out, "Christ is risen!"

In some ways, I don't think Easter is a propositional theory for us to understand. Easter, like the cross, is meant to be experienced, not explained. And we offer people a profound experience on Eas…

Holy Week part 6

Holy Week, Part 6

Click here to read Mark 15:38-47I wanted to back up and retrace a bit of the passage from yesterday.There were two points about the events right after Jesus died for us to consider.The first is that the temple curtain is torn from top to bottom.In Jesus day, there was a Holy City: Jerusalem.And there was a holy site: the temple.And then there was the Holy of Holies, which like in the Wizard of Oz, was hid behind a curtain.Only certain people were allowed into the Holy of Holies.If you look back at Mark 1:9-11, Jesus’ baptism, you will see a foreshadowing of the temple curtain being torn.As Jesus is coming up out of the water, cradled in John the Baptizer’s arms the heavens are torn open.Back in January when we centered ourselves in church on this passage, we talked about how that was an image that God is on the loose in our lives, so too here.God is on the loose as the temple curtain which separated where God resided from where the People of God resided was now torn in ha…

Holy Week part 5